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Wait, What? Ep. 79.1: iPhones and Asshats

Jeff Lester

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Multitasking–can it truly be done efficiently?

Studies suggest “no,” but if only they could watch me in action, they could change those studies to definitively conclude, “Oh hell, no.” At this very moment, I am uploading episode 79.1, listening to episode 79.2, and creating this entry to go live early Tuesday morning. Which will I screw up first? The smart money is on “all three.”

That said–hello! Welcome to Episode 79.1! Yes, once again, we are changing things up and going back to two episodes per week, divided up into comfy one hour chunks. I kinda missed having content on the site on Thursdays–I thought it was a nice way to have something up to look at and listen to before John’s reviews roll around on Friday. (And thank goodness for that, eh? What a fine addition to the site Mr. K (UK) turned out to be!)

So for the month of March at least–two bite-sized eps of roughly an hour in length. Is that something that turns your crank? Please weigh in at the comments and let us know or shoot us an email at waitwhatpodcast@gmail.com.

Also, I tried to cut back on the infamous “echoing McMillan” effect with limited effect (though I think it sounds better than it has in a few episodes) and I didn’t put the episodes through good ol’ Levelator. Did you notice? Let us know!

Okay, you say, fine. But what about content? Did you bother to put content into this “installment,” Jeff?

Fortunately, yes. M.C. MC and I talk Alan Moore’s latest interview (hence the lego effigy you see above), Rich Johnston and the industry’s need for scapegoats, the possibility of “good” comics journalism, and Graeme and I discuss whether and when we’ve gone too far.

Current quantum theory postulates that the podcast both exists and does not exist on iTunes until your feed goes to discover it.  But since we operate in a very meat & potatoes Newtonian-style website, you can also listen to it here, no collapsing wave function required:

Wait, What? Ep. 79.1: iPhones and Asshats

And come back on Thursday for part two–wherein we discuss Avengers Assemble #1, Todd McFarlane’s Spider-Man #1 (timely!), Angel and Faith, and much more!

50 Responses to “ Wait, What? Ep. 79.1: iPhones and Asshats ”

  1. Oh god help me I want a Lego Alan Moore.

  2. Boo to seperate episodes. It would of been great to hear your review of Avengers Assemble #1 right after Graeme’s comments about avoiding Bendis for fear of causing an awkward scene.

  3. Gentleman, the overall sound quality of the podcast was good and the dampening of the “echoing McMillan” effect was evident and appreciated. It made it more listenable to my ears. While there seemed to be some occasions of dead air in the podcast, the trade-off seems worth it to me. Mileage may vary for others, of course.

    I really enjoyed this episode of introspection, self-analysis and self-deprecation. I think part of your charm is your willingness to say what is on your minds without too great of a filter. You are, after all, not just providing thoughtful commentary, analysis, criticism and opinions, but entertainment as well. That is to say, you gentlemen are never boring or tedious.

    I don’t think you guys have ever said anything purposely mean about anybody or have ever said anything you should regret. The only time I think you may have come close to “crossing the line” was your commentary on Matt Fraction. There was some discussion once of his alcoholism and you expressed some concern for his mental health and well being (at least that was the impression I recall getting) and I thought that critique was a bit too personal. While it’s certainly fair game to criticize someone’s creative output, it seemed like the conversation was focused on Fraction’s failings as a flawed human being (aren’t we all?) rather than his failings and flaws as a writer. I remember being shocked at the time because you seemed to have reached your conclusions solely based upon his creative output, which struck me as wildly presumptive. That’s the closest you guys ever came to “crossing the line” but as the Dude would say, “that’s just like, my opinion, man”. I’m not being critical or judgmental here, because I suppose we all have different ideas of where the “line” is. And what the meaning of “is” is.

    Speaking of opinions, I am fascinated by the whole dynamic of internet etiquette concerning commentary and “trolling”. I have been guilty of poor internet behavior myself, such as expressing “outrage” (see, e.g., Brian Hibbs’ admonishment to me on this website regarding a comment I made to Steve Wacker). Whether on a comics website or a political or news website, I will sometime read a comment posted by another reader and feel the need to address or rebut what was said, especially if I strongly disagree with what was said or how it was conveyed (again, see, e.g., my comments to Steve Wacker on this very website).

    I have come to the realization that my opinion (and the time spent drafting that opinion) is a total waste of my time. Really, who the fuck cares what I have to say? If you don’t know me or know what I believe in and what I don’t believe in, expressing my opinion on the internet is pointless. You will just think I am being a dick. It’s all just ego and hubris to think that my commentary and opinion matters to anyone other than my friends or family. Not only that, but it’s all so ephemeral. It quickly dissipates and disappears into the ether of the web.

    I think the whole problem is one of anonymity. You are right in concluding that people act differently in person than on the internet, where everyone gets lumped into the collective whole. Steve Wacker can think we are all trolls because he sees the internet as a vast amorphous mass of uninformed slobs who obviously have an anti-Marvel bias. That’s the way he chooses to look at the internet and by extension, the world. It’s sad really.

    Anyhow Jeff, I don’t see how anyone at Marvel would hire you in any capacity. I think those people there are thin skinned and would take offense to your threatened “boycott”, your opinions of Ike Perlmutter, the price and quality of certain books, and your outspoken pro-Kirby/pro-creator stance. That is to say, your nose is insufficiently brown.

    Gentlemen, keep up the good work.

  4. As much as I enjoyed this podcast, I am an outspoken fan of the however-long-it-takes format – I’m totally stoked for Graeme’s Avengers review, but i have to wait another two days to hear it!

    And since you guys asked…I always get the sense that you two aren’t saying anything that’s deliberately disrespectful or hurtful to the creators who may or may not be listening. You don’t call out haters, you don’t point and laugh gleefully at others mistakes or opinions. And context is everything – prime example, the whole “is Steve Wacker a sociopath” discussion cropped up because you were discussing whether or not trolls have sociopathic tendencies, which came up because Steve Wacker was trolling SavCrit. Otherwise, you guys tend to share your opinions, usually with a lot of humility and a lot of stress on the fact that these are just one man’s opinions. If you guys just started throwing in ad hominum attacks at Bendis or Fraction or whoever, that’d be different. As it is, the pair of you manage to maintain a level of entertaing discourse that almost every other comics podcast can’t even touch.

    So stop being so hard on yourselves! You guys are great.

  5. In the Alan Moore discussion, Graeme is totally doing that thing where two people are having a shouting match and one of them starts going “What’re you getting so angry at? Why are you so angry? You’re always so angry!”

  6. I second Voodoo Ben’s call of “stop being so hard on yourselves.”

    As far as format, I thought this one shut down just as it was really kicking into gear. Take that as you will.

    I also would’ve liked to hear about the mediocrity of Avengers Assemble after Graeme’s close shave in the comic store. :)

  7. Great one as always, gents. Regarding format, I vote done-in-one.

  8. Two parts again Jeff? But you were doing so well. For whatever it’s worth two files is a minor irritant to deal with your and conversations just work much better whole than with the forced break.

    Ah well.

    The only time I felt you guys went too far was at the height of the Fraction stuff. Week after week it felt like you were constructing a narrative where his mental health was slowly deteriorating until it seemed like you thought he was one step away from throwing himself off a tall building. It felt like genuine concern for the guy but also like the analysis was way too personal.

    It’s really not something you should be worrying need to worry about in general though. If anything I might go in the other direction. When he who lives under bridges ambushing billy goats first had a go at you I caught the twitter exchange. It felt like Graeme was far too accommodating to the guy. I can appreciate wanting to avoid an ugly exchange but as long as you know you’re giving an honest opinion without malice about a subject you’re well informed about then the price for doing so on the internet is that you stick with it when someone without a counter argument starts calling you names.

    Which makes things sound way more confrontational then I mean it to but there you have it.

    Oh and I’d say the comics media is a still at least a bit ahead of game media certainly from a review perspective. Just look at the tone deaf reaction to the Mass Effect 3 uproar and how so many reviews missed the one aspect of the game that polarised its players. There is a genuine sense of contempt for the audience at work there that I’ve only got from the most elitist sections of comics coverage.

  9. The only time I felt you guys went too far was at the height of the Fraction stuff. Week after week it felt like you were constructing a narrative where his mental health was slowly deteriorating until it seemed like you thought he was one step away from throwing himself off a tall building. It felt like genuine concern for the guy but also like the analysis was way too personal.

    No way, that’s when they’re at their best. As long as it’s not mean-spirited or outright lies or slanderous, why is speculating on what a creator’s work says about a creator’s mental state such a bad thing? I don’t know why people seem to get so hung up on the Fraction issue with this podcast. I don’t think they went too far with it, but instead wish they’d do more of the same with other creators.

  10. The only time I felt you guys went too far was at the height of the Fraction stuff. Week after week it felt like you were constructing a narrative where his mental health was slowly deteriorating until it seemed like you thought he was one step away from throwing himself off a tall building. It felt like genuine concern for the guy but also like the analysis was way too personal.

    No way, that’s when they’re at their best. As long as it’s not mean-spirited or outright lies or slanderous, why is speculating on what a creator’s work says about a creator’s mental state such a bad thing? I don’t know why people seem to get so hung up on the Fraction issue with this podcast. I don’t think they went too far with it, but instead wish they’d do more of the same with other creators.

    The first podcast had the Fraction stuff and it was what got me hooked on the podcast. It also led to the best line of the podcast, one of the best insights I’ve heard in criticism ever, where Graeme said “This work was borne of pain, was about pain, but has nothing particularly deep or insightful to say about pain.” Incredibly brilliant. Somewhat disturbing is how in a recent episode Jeff brought up that incredible line to Graeme again and Graeme totally didn’t remember ever saying it, which is a shame because meanwhile I’ve been ripping it off left and right.

  11. Sorry for the duplicate comment.

  12. By the way, what do you guys think about the last paragraph in this Brian Wood interview:

    http://www.newsarama.com/comics/wondercon-2012-x-men-brian-wood.html

    It shocks me (well not really since I think DC is run by incompetent hacks these days) that DC could find no place for Brian Wood in their mainstream comics line and rejected all his pitches, given the people they DID end up hiring. No Brian Wood, but there’s room for Michael Green, Eric Wallace, and Rob Liefeld to write books?

  13. I disagree that Alan Moore was trolling – he was protecting his brand.
    He tried staying silent on people using his works that he wasn’t involved with, and they started putting words into his mouth.
    His name is involved with this Before Watchmen through no fault of his own, and so he’s making sure that anyone who googles ‘Alan Moore Before Watchmen’ is going to find out his views, and have some great quotes if they write about it.
    There is no way it can be misconstrued that he is on board for this, or thinks it’s in anyway worthwhile, and by being so against it in interviews, people say “did you see what he said” and the word spreads further than if he had been more polite.
    As for him being a meanie to other creators – surely they’d get where he is coming from, and why he is doing this.*
    As he says “I know that people think I’ve been terribly mean to the poor little American comics industry. It’s so unfair when you think about it, isn’t it, that you’ve got a barely-educated thug from the English midlands picking upon this huge multinational corporation. You know, I ought to be ashamed of myself.”

    *Jason Aaron took issue of course, but his next big book to come out is the Avengers Vs X-Men spin-off fight book, which just seems to prove Moore right.

    As for you guys going too far… once or twice. I didn’t mind a lot of the take-down on Fraction, because he seems to think more highly of himself the worse his work is.
    But, the time you started speculating that he was having “issues” and said you were really worried about him, felt like going too far. Maybe you knew more than we did, but otherwise that felt like an unnecessary foray into armchair psychology based on scraps from interviews.

    On the need for Rich Johnston – who I think is a-ok- and some people really hating him… anyone have a copy of the truly bizarre Newsarama ‘Joe Friday’s’ column where then EIC Joe Quesada and Brian Bendis did a back and forth on how Rich was raping comics?
    I believe they even said rape was the only word to use for what he did!
    It seems to have gone, and I can only find mention of it here in the ‘Maddest Moments’ section – http://www.comicbookresources.com/?page=article&id=15122

    Other than that – I hope you guys liked Avengers Assemble, because I did, and I’m feeling like the only one. Best Avengers issue I’ve read by Bendis.

  14. T: I think Brian Wood is a good writer, I don’t know he’d be a particularly good ongoing superhero writer.
    As for the others you mention, Michael Green’s Supergirl is a good book, and Eric Wallace did a good job on Mister Terrific (although I accept I’m in the minority there, and it wasn’t perfect, I think he did well. Besides, they owed him somethng after making him write titans: Villains For Hire).
    Liefeld… to be honest, from a purely business stand point, I’d have let him have a book to see if he had any magic left. Not three books though.

  15. I feel shame for having subscribed to this podcast but continually turned away from it as an option when I saw the long running times. The dust-up with HE WHO SHALL NOT BE NAMED led me to take the plunge and I’ve found one of the best damn podcasts out there. Keep it up!

    I especially liked the discussion of comic book journalism in this episode. As new a convert as I am, I think I gotta side with the “as long as it takes” one-shots. Among all the possible reasons, one is that iTunes tends to just download the most recent new, so it’ll leave .1 whithering on the ‘net like a corresponding Marvel Comic on the shelf, unless I directly intervene.

  16. I like the longer format better, but either way works.

    The democratization of comic book reviews is a good thing, but it erases a bit of the space between creators and readers. Unfortunately, there’s no way to avoid hurt feelings (unless every review is glowing, but no one wants that). It’s easy for me to say professionals should be able to handle bad reviews, but they’re only human.

    Of course, there are a lot of bad comics out there, and softening a review for the sake of the creator is not fair to the reader. No matter how good a person is in real life, bad writing and art should be criticized. The only responsibIlities the critic has to the creator are fairness and avoiding personal attacks.

  17. I echo what everyone else has said about Fraction. I kind of felt that it skirted the line and went into slightly uncomfortable territory, but it was not mean spirited. It was born out of dissecting a story and then briefly lost sight of that. Nothing to beat yourself up over.

    I think you were more than fair to HE WHO SHALL NOT BE NAMED and that incident initiated what I thought was an interesting discussion on professional conduct and social media.

    I think Brian K. Vaughan has the right idea in regards to internet presence. You need some distance from your audience or else things can become warped from both sides. I’m of the opinion that twitter is one of the worst things to happen to the comics industry.

    Count me as another who likes the all-in-one podcasts. Once I get into the flow of the conversation, I don’t want to have to wait.

    Wait, What? has become my favorite podcast and over the last couple of months I’ve picked up King City, Prophet and various Marvel Masterworks based on your discussions. So thanks.

  18. Booo seperate episodes. I actually only started listening a couple of months ago, so I’ve never heard a 2 parter. Stay with one big episode!

  19. I vote for done-in-ones as well, but one three-hour conversation divided into three parts and released on a weekly MWF or TThSat (or some variation thereof) would be ideal. (And, while the two of you obviously know what works best for you, I don’t think the third hour would be too much of a stretch once you make it past the 2′-2’15″ mark.) Also: Vidcast specials. Make it happen.

  20. Another solution would be one 2 hour cast early in the week followed by a 30 min. one later on for that of which you know you could speed through at a focused clip depending upon the time amount to be allocated to each element of the week’s discussion content (e.g. the week’s reviews, listener questions, freeform discussion, gripes, anecdotes).

  21. PS Another question for a future episode: What are your respective top 5-10 uncollected (esp. any obscure ones) series/one-shots that you’d recommend listeners track down online or by back issue bin diving?

  22. Since I’ve now listened to the podcast, actual reasons to keep it whole! You guys, as I’m sure you know, ramble a hell of a lot. I need actual comics discussion! Having the podcast all in one place makes me know that the other subjects are coming soon. As it is, I was itching about your Alan Moore stuff, cause it was basically just you guys talking about your feelings and taking away possible comic talking time. I DO like that stuff, but it’s junk food.

  23. I came here intending to argue for keeping the podcast in two parts, but after reading all the previous comments, I like what Stephen W. proposed: one big ‘un, and then one or two bite-sized podcasts later in the week, each perhaps devoted to one particular comic or arc or run or creator or whatever. That would satisfy Jeff’s yearning to offer content throughout the week without violating the sanctity of the big talkfest. And it would give you guys another outlet for all the little stuff that never seems to get squeezed into your main podcast. And, let’s be honest, it would give me what I really want, which is more Wait, What? goodness each week.

  24. I don’t think you guys have crossed a line – I think, in a way it ties back in to the discussion you were having about comics ‘journalism’ earlier in the podcast, which appears to be the degree to which comics sites and podcasts engage in criticism of the medium.

    There seems to me to be 2 types of comics podcasts; there are hobbyists having a round table discussion about the books they are reading and then there are critical podcasts, such as House to Astonish (and in aprticular Paul O’Brien) and yourselves who bring a form of literary-criticism theory and apply it to comics, you also apply that to the industry and at times certain creators.

    In that sense any remarks or speculation you make on individual creators is organic and an extension of discussing their work (as it was with Fraction).

    We have Ifanboys, or WordBalloons (and many others) that at a glance appear to have some of the trappings of journalism but who softball and gladhand as a matter of course (perhaps as a result of the industry being so small).

    I think you end up feeling self-conscious running into Bendis at your LCS or attendning the same event as Matt Fraction because all coverage of the medium is not equally critical.

    When professionals like Steve Wacker respomd in the manner he did – it would be disingenuous not to comment on it –
    the problem isn’t with either of you – it’s with the rest of the comics industry reporting sites.

  25. Well, of course the Fraction thing wasn’t mean-spirited. It was just creepy to listen to, because it sounded like Graeme was this close to breaking into Fraction’s house and rifling through his underwear drawer while feverishly rubbing copies of Fear Itself over his genitals.

    Re: Alan Moore: I’m certainly not the guy’s biggest fan – I think he’s way past his prime, I think Watchmen is great but wildly overrated, I think LoEG is cheap and gimmicky, and I’ve talked repeatedly, I think probably on this site, about how the guy is easily as creepy as Frank Miller in how he handles women and sex but totally gets a free pass on all the totally gratuitous rape scenes he crams into every single thing he writes, for instance – but I think he has every right to complain as much as he wants about how he’s been treated by DC and by the industry in general. Frankly I’d love to hear more comic creators complain about how they’ve been screwed over by the industry – certainly there are dozens that have had it worse than Moore – but the fact is that most of them aren’t able to do so because they still depend on that industry to give them the work they need to survive. Alan Moore acts like a cantankerous dick in interviews because he’s one of the few people in the industry who has the freedom to act like a cantankerous dick (Well, he also might act like a cantankerous dick because he also happens to be a cantankerous dick – but that doesn’t change the fact that when he’s complaining about mainstream comics he happens to be in the right).

    I’ve really liked the ongoing discussion of online behavior and trollery. I’ve tried to be less of a dick online, or at least be more aware of the fact that I tend to be more of a dick online (I’m not TRYING to be a dick online, I swear!), but the Internet just MAKES ME and I have to fight against it, with yoga meditation, like Bruce Banner in the good parts of Bruce Jones’s run on the Hulk.

    Anyway, I don’t think Steve Wacker’s a sociopath, or that trolls in general are sociopaths – I think the sadder and weirder thing going on with Wacker is the way that he (and a lot of people in his line of work, apparently) have so completely internalized their company’s policies, so as to take any criticism of a publishing strategy or an editorial decision as a personal affront and then respond to it as viciously and as vigorously as they would if they or their loved ones had been attacked or maligned in some way. It’s pretty clear that Marvel’s strategy of overpublishing books is coming from higher up than Wacker, and that as long as he works there, he has to accept that policy and deal with it – and in interviews, if asked about it, he has to put on a good face for the company. But he, himself, does not have to believe that, much less take up a personal crusade to every blog and twitter feed in the internet that disagrees with that. But the first step down that path – believing that you have to believe what your company believes – is probably an easier mistake to make than most; we live under a system that tells us that our lives are defined by the jobs we perform, which is to say, the products we produce and sell under capitalism. When you meet someone at a party and they say “what do you do?”, they’re not asking you what hobbies you have, whether you’re a parent or an aspiring artist or writer or what kind of music you love – they’re asking you what you do when you punch in for work. And when you get so wrapped up in a system like that, it’s easy to start believing that your company’s polices have to be right, because otherwise you’re spending your life working for assholes and idiots, and it’s easier to believe that the people making well-reasoned criticisms of your company are the assholes and idiots, and pretty soon you’re trolling dozens of blogs in the dead of night when you should be sound asleep.

  26. Oh, and since I’ve picked on you guys about the Fraction thing, I should say that even though the that got creepy that one time, it came out of what I think is the best thing about this podcast and what gives it its essential character, which is its freewheeling, rambling, anything-goes nature, where you have two guys who care a lot about a topic saying whatever they think and breaking off free-association-style to talk about whatever they really care enough to talk about. As much as I love House to Astonish, with its orderly and structured “here’s our agenda, here’s what we’re going to cover in X many minutes, one two three,” I love love love the loopy conversational chaos of Jeff and Graeme just shootin’ the shit about comics and waffles and whatever, and if the price to pay for that is that you guys occasionally “cross the line” and speculate for a bit too long about, eh, I dunno, Brian Bendis’s kink life or whatever, that’s a small price to pay.

  27. Regarding Alan Moore, I completely agree with Jeff. Moore has every right to be angered at this, and every right to answer the questions posed to him in an interview. I expect he would like to stop talking about Watchmen (though I am sure he is happy to have it out there that he is not behind “Before Watchmen” at all), but people want to keep asking him about it.

    That said, I can certainly Graeme’s point of view. Moore does not put himself in the best light with these issues in the manner he speaks of the comic industry. And I think Graeme is right in that Moore is probably making these blanket statements in order to make a point. He admits to not reading “mainstream” comics, so he undercuts his broad argument right there, and Moore is too smart an individual not to see that. Plus, his history belies the statement that there are not talented creators in mainstream comics. When Wildstorm was bought out by DC comics, Moore considered pulling out. But he wanted to work with the likes of Chris Sprouse and J.H. Williams III and Kevin Nowlan, et al. that he remained with the books even though they were being published by a subsidiary of DC.

    The point that seems lost in all of this – from my limited reading of the interviews regarding Before Watchmen – is the fact that the Watchmen deal, as it was understood by Moore & Gibbons in 1985, was meant to usher in a new era of cooperation between creators and corporations where more ownership would be given over to the writers and artists. But in the end, the deal only strengthened the corporation-as-owner model and alienated Moore. Ironically, it did make things better for the likes of Neil Gaiman, Grant Morrison, Brian K. Vaughan, and others. Gaiman directly attributes the fallout from Watchmen as integral to the good working relationship he had with DC vis-à-vis Sandman.

    At the heart of Moore’s argument, and vitriol, is the desire to see creators respected. Just because the poor business practices of the past have been “the way things are done” does not mean they need to be propagated in a time when we should be more enlightened. Moore wants the corporations to show the proper respect to those creators who actually create the “product” upon which they reap their profits. And he also wants the consumer/fan to show a similar respect to those creators whose work they enjoy. It’s a fairly simple proposal that appears lost on many.

    The most disappointing aspect, for me, is the manner in which the creators involved have been vehemently defending this endeavor. I do not think anyone denies the legal right for DC to do this (and I can even agree that, at least in the short term, this is probably a smart publishing move). Everyone also seems to be in agreement that Moore and Gibbons did get screwed over in their Watchmen deal with DC. And yet, JMS (in the AICN interview mentioned by Graeme) claims that those decrying this project have no moral ground upon which to stand.

    I am a fan of JMS (qualified by saying I haven’t read his Spider-Man past the JRJr stuff, haven’t read Superman or WW, and appear to have bypassed the “crap”), but I find this statement laughable and frustrating. As I state above, this was to be the turning point for creator-ownership in the mainstream, and yet it became the complete opposite. The spirit of the deal was that Moore & Gibbons would eventually own Watchmen. Now, by producing these prequels (did nobody learn from George Lucas?), and by arguing for the “rightness” of them, these creators – including JMS, Azzarello, Cooke, Conner, et al. – are solidifying DC’s position and setting back the creator-ownership fight by a wide margin. These creators have some bit of clout in the industry and they have rubber-stamped this desecration. It’s disheartening.

    Sorry – rant over.

    As to your other questions:

    1) I am apparently in the minority, but I love having the episode broken up. It is purely selfish, but having two episodes gives me something to look forward to later in the week and means I don’t have as long to wait between episodes. This is easily my favorite podcast and being able to look forward to multiple episodes, even if they are shorter, is something I appreciate.

    2) I’ve never felt you two have crossed the line. You think about your comics more than the average fan – this is exactly why I so look forward to my Wait,What? downloads – and the paths down which you tread are quick detours that make sense. People have cited the Matt Fraction analysis as toeing the line, but even then, you were examining his comics through a lens that includes having read a fair amount of interviews with him, as well as the very personal back matter Fraction included in the first iteration of Casanova. That stuff was incredibly personal, and he always brought it around to how those experiences informed his writing of the issue at hand. All creators put themselves into the work, but Fraction has been more open about how he has put himself into his creations.

    Keep up the great work, and thanks for all that you guys do. It is much appreciated.

    chris

  28. There does seem to be a lack of honesty in comics journalism and more so reviews. I don’t want to say something bad about X because I want to work for their publisher some day. That’s the reason I always enjoyed the reviews here because they were short, to the point, and zero bullshit. If a story was total crap, someone called it out. Love that.

    What’s the solution? (insert tongue firmly in cheek) The Unknown Comic Reviewers! You get three reviewers, a logo of them with paper bags over their heads, let them say whatever they want, and never reveal their identities. Creators and Publishers can hate them mercilessly. Readers can get honest news and reviews. Pay for the site with donations.

  29. “On the need for Rich Johnston – who I think is a-ok- and some people really hating him… anyone have a copy of the truly bizarre Newsarama ‘Joe Friday’s’ column where then EIC Joe Quesada and Brian Bendis did a back and forth on how Rich was raping comics?”

    Well, there’s this: http://web.archive.org/web/20060524231120/http://www.newsarama.com/Qrama/Qrama8.htm

    But there’s also:
    http://www.dynamicforces.com/htmlfiles/tommy26.html

    I don’t see the specific word rape anywhere though but I didn’t look too hard.

  30. Oh, wait there it is– “Rich always declares some higher purpose to what he does which is basically just raping other people’s careers, and there is no higher calling. He gets paid by the hit, he does it for money. I know how much because CBR offered me my own column year’s back. He only gets hits worth a paycheck if he really f#@$% someone over that people are interested in. He always declares some made up morality to what he does, like comic’s needs him. I bet we don’t.”

    There you go.

  31. I’ll join the minority wanting the podcast broken up. About an hour is just the right height, er, length for fitting a podcast into my day.

  32. No, no, wait, here’s the key part of that Johnston chat, from Bendis: “Why don’t you give him New Warriors or Captain Britain to write so you can control him like a puppet master?”

    That’s the part. That part speaks to me, lots– volumes.

  33. I argued for podcasts broken into parts last time you’ve argued, but not if it only means an hour each – I want two hours for each part! Make it a comics progcast!

    @Chris Beckett – If you read enough JMS interviews, you’ll see there’s no end to the craziness he’ll say to justify his work choices. Remember when he declared that it was the smart move to stop with ongoings because miniseries and OGN’s were the way everything was heading?

    @Abhay – Man, I only remembered being shocked by a writer and chief editor of a company making kids products only being able to come up with ‘rapist’ to describe someone who messes up the timing of their marketing plans occasionally – that puppet master line is amazing.
    That’s how Bendis sees his fellow freelancers, but is he reflective enough to think it of himself?

  34. Personally, the only one of Moore’s statements I found even remotely objectionable was the little dismissal he gave of Wein’s Swamp Thing writing (“really wasn’t much more than a regurgitation of Hillman Comics’ The Heap with a bit of Rod Serling purple prose wrapped around it”). Seemed a bit petty, but on the other hand I’m still pretty sure I lost a lot of respect for Len Wein for participating in the project, so I’m not sure he didn’t deserve it.

    Frankly, it’s a little ridiculous to read his dismissal of modern comics as a dismissal of FUN HOME or anything like that. Clearly he’s not talking about that kind of stuff.

    What I found really amazing was that Moore actually read Azzarello’s HELLBLAZER and that he liked it. Not sure which half of that is more amazing, in fact. I only read a few issues, so maybe it got better, but I did not enjoy them.

  35. @Ben Lipman – Yes. JMS has indeed shown himself to be a good company man.

    to that point, and the broader one, I do find it just a bit surprising how demonized people like Moore, or Harlan Ellison who is another major advocate for writers/creators who does not mince words, are in disputes like this. I guess I shouldn’t be. But if those who are in a position to say something, i.e. creators who have some influence and a platform to express their thoughts/criticisms, do not speak up, then who will? And will it do any good?

    Moore and Ellison and others like them are working – albeit, sometimes not in the most politically correct manner – to better circumstances for themselves and others within their field. And yet fans – vocal ones who apparently only care about getting what they want when they want no matter the manner in which it is made – enjoy coming online to deride them and put them down.

    It’s this utter contempt for those willing to “tell it like it is” that always gets my dander up (does anyone use that cliche anymore?) and gets me commenting on these things.

    And, finally, I just want to say I appreciate being able to come to this site and have a reasoned “discussion” about topics like this and not have to deal with remarks that are more uninformed soundbites than thought out arguments (and I hope my points lean more toward the latter than the former). Thanks to Mr. Hibbs for working to keep it that way and to you two gentlemen for providing an example in the podcast.

    chris

  36. Lego Alan Moore couldn’t be any more adorable unless he had a soundchip in him with a sample of Mr. Jeff Lester’s Moore-ific, “Jolly Good Day! Jolly Good Day, everyone!”

    Since the comments section on other sites following Alan Moore’s interview were like being dipped in sh*t I’d just like thank the Savage critics commentators for being as super-great as ever. and that’s not because I agree with every single one, no, it’s because you are all well mannered folks.

    The only time I think Messrs Lester and McMillan have come close to crossing the line was with the Matt Fraction stuff. That’s only because I don’t find Matt Fraction that interesting and the Matt Fraction stuff went on for quite a while there. Content wise it was fine, though. I mean if he’s going to put all that personal stuff out there then people are going to do stuff with it. He knows that. It’s all calculated in, I’m sure, don’t worry. Me, I thought your flights of fancy reading his state of mind like a cup of attention seeking tea leaves were hilarious. I’d imagine Matt Fraction didn’t mind either – it’s all “heat” for the “juice”! Come and drink Matt Fraction’s “hot juice”!

    Man, it’s a good job Bendis is gracious to people in person otherwise, judging by those quotes above, I’d think really very poorly of him indeed. Instead of just quite poorly.

    Thanks as ever!

  37. Robert G (and others) You have made up the “fact” that I think everyone on the internet is a “troll”. So you’re starting from fundamentally unsound place. I’ve been on boards for about 20 years. I know the ins-and-outs pretty well.

    And aside from the claims of extremely thin-skinned Lester and MacMillan (did you really claim your dislike of a comic was somehow the fault Matt’s history with alcoholism?), I have never “trolled” the Savage Critics site….or any site for that matter.

    The “troll” thing is just a disingenuous dodge from people who don’t want to be challenged. It’s okay to answer back. Don’t be so scared.

    (This reminds me of a few months back when MacMillan was shocked…just shocked!… that I didn’t answer his publicly written –and i believe erroneous– criticisms in private).

    Remember folks, when everyone’s a “troll”, no one is.

    SW

  38. ….and heeeeeeeere we go again!!!

    Hey, can somebody post the link to the Moore interview you’re referring to?

  39. @SteveD: Tuck in, big fella!

    http://www.seraphemera.org/seraphemera_books/Alan_Moore_Interview.html

  40. JohnK (UK) – i thank you for that link as well! I’ve heard all kinds of discussion about it, but had yet to see the thing in person.

  41. @Stephen Wacker: I don’t really know what to say at this point. I suppose I should just avoid the whole thing and let it go. But where’s the fun in that, huh?

    Let me begin by saying that I think you are one of the better editors in the industry. You obviously have an eye for talent and it appears that you know how to let your creators create without too much apparent editorial interference. I’m enjoying Daredevil and am looking forward to the latest Sinister Six storyline in the Amazing Spider-Man.

    I don’t know for a fact that you think everyone on the internet is a troll. I’m pretty sure that you aren’t a sociopath. But I guess I don’t know that for a fact either.

    I guess I was/am trying to understand the nature of the comments you made on 4thletter! (David Brothers blog) and here on the Savage Critics, given that you are a comics professional and the rhetoric you employed seemed anything but. Your comments came across as unnecessarily defensive and argumentative and rather than address the subject matter through civil discourse, you seemed to want to pick a fight.

    I was wondering if you had self-awareness of how you come across in your comments. But seeing as how you’ve been doing this for 20 years, I guess that you know exactly what you are doing and how your comments may be interpreted or misinterpreted. (Has the internet been around for 20 years now? Good Grief!).

    Please take note that I’m trying to be civil here. And honestly? I hate the use of the word “troll”.

    Anyhow, neither Jeff or Graeme ever claimed they disliked a Matt Fraction comic as a result of Fraction’s history with alcoholism or faulted his writing on alcoholism. The matter to which I was referring in my comment concerned how Fraction portrayed Tony Stark at an AA meeting in an issue of Iron Man. Seeing as how Fraction himself put his past history with alcoholism and his recovery in the public sphere, this was certainly fair game.

    Anyhow, like I said before, I don’t presume to speak for anyone else here at Savage Critics but myself. I’m a free agent. But I like it here because the level of discourse is usually civil and I happen to think Brian Hibbs, Jeff Lester and Graeme McMillan are conscientious, well-meaning, reasonable people who love comic books.

  42. Just wanted to say: nicely put Robert G.

    chris

  43. “Moore and Ellison and others like them are working – albeit, sometimes not in the most politically correct manner – to better circumstances for themselves and others within their field.”

    @Chris… but what is Moore doing to better circumstances for himself and others? It seems that he complains alot… he points out flaws and areas where he would like to see improvement… but what is he actually *doing*? How is he really working towards changing the status quo?

    Not trying to poke the bear or anything… I’m genuinely curious, as all that I hear form Moore is the complaining. If he’s done or doing something more, I’d like to hear about it.

  44. Thanks Chris. BTW, I didn’t mean to exclude John K (UK) and all the other contributors who make this website a rare gem and a real treat.

  45. @Murray: You make a good point. I think, when Moore first left DC and spoke out about what he saw as problems with the “industry,” it was a big thing. Not that he was the first to do this, but he is one of the very few to have a voice that is heard outside the medium, so to speak. At the time, that was a big deal and I think that was enough – to show the way for others, to break the silence that seems to surround these issues.

    At the time, it helped creators coming in, like Gaiman and Morrison, retain some ownership (or, in Gaiman’s case, retain a seat at the table regarding the Sandman characters he co-created) of their new stories. But it seems as if this pendulum has swung back a little bit, though I am not privy to actual contracts. But there have been rumors that Vertigo contracts have changed, and Marvel and DC “proper” certainly seem to be backing the character over the creator recently.

    I wouldn’t say that Moore is actively doing anything to better things today – though I don’t know that for certain, but it seems unlikely. He is still beating the drum with these interview answers, and is still one of the very few speaking out in such a manner. But I wonder, truly, how much more he could do. Calls for unionization by others, such as Tony Harris and Steve Niles (iirc), have been met with apathy and silence. And remarks by certain editors seem to indicate that the “party line” is alive and well at these Big Two publishers.

    Don’t know if that gets to your question or is just a rambling mess. I fully support Moore’s right to complain as much as he wants about these issues. I think if he wasn’t talking about it, little would be said in regard to this.

    chris

  46. @Chris: thanks. I get what you’re saying. I’m not really going to say that Moore doesn’t have a right to be angry or to complain. But it seems to me he’s singing the same note again and again and it isn’t really changing anything. He wants to paint DC as the bad guy, without acknowledging any of his own mistakes that may have contributed to the situation.

    I keep coming back to that old saying, “You catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.”

  47. @Murray:

    Yeah, I can totally agree with you there. It isn’t anything new that Moore’s saying. And he certainly could phrase it better. I, personally, like that he’s unfiltered, but the honey/vinegar adage sure could apply here. I don’t know if it would move the dial at all, but it could possibly be more productive if he were rising above it rather than making his broad proclamations.

    Ah, well. Maybe we’ll get a few months respite until someone else feels the need to ring him up and ask about Watchmen again.

    Also, thanks for “pushing me” with your question. I like that people here can have a civil discussion and still argue the points of someone’s statement.

    chris

  48. Sorry, I forgot, but this is the episode where you discuss the Monkees, right? I saw one of the reunion shows about ten years ago featuring Davey Jones and Mickey Dolenz. I don’t remember how much Davey was rocking the tambourine, but I do remember what an amazing performance Dolenz gave that night. his rendition of Goin’ Down had to be seen to be believed.

  49. @Chris: I don’t even know that Moore has to try to rise above it or even take the high road. He can still be angry *and* he can still try to change things for the better without coming across like a spoiled brat. When all he does is complain, criticize and point fingers it comes across (to me, anyway) that he isn’t really interested in changing anything. He just wants his own way and seems angry that anyone else would disagree with him.

    And I totally agree that it’s cool to be able to discuss things, and not agree with one another, and keep it clean and polite.

  50. I’m disappointed; I was told there was a trolling to be seen here. :( Back to the current thread, then. :)

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